3rd Odissi Convention Celebrated at Houston Durga Bari


Photos Nirmalya Roy

By Aparupa Chatterjee and Sanchali Basu
HOUSTON: The 3rd North American Odissi convention- Kelucharan Guna Keertanam, 2014 was an intimate whole day festival, hosted at Sur Audtitorium of Houston Durga Bari society at Houston, on June 1, organized by Aparupa Chatterjee, the Odissi exponent of Srjan, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Nrityabasa, Bhubaneshwar, India, disciple of Guru Ratikant and Sujata Mohapatra, and the current Odissi instructor at Anjali Center for Performing Arts.
With a full house, the 3rd anniversary of this festival commemorated the 10th year of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s demise and the 10th year of Chatterjee’s association with Srjan. A decade after Guruji left this world Chatterjee felt a need to bring together disciples from all over USA and his family, to relive the magic of those halcyon days of brilliant pieces by Guruji.
The program started at sharp 2:00pm with an invocation to Lord Jagannath, by our beloved Consul General P. Harish, his wife Nandita Harish with Amrit Narayan Achari, followed by an inaugural Hindustani classical vocal by Shreya Maiti, a disciple of Pandit Ajoy Chakroborty. The dance recital initiated with a warm message from Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, who could not make it this time, and moved on to ‘Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu’ by Chatterjee’s students, and ‘Bakra tunda Mahakaya’ by Houston-based Smt. Aloka Kanungo’s disciple and Odissi exponent, Supradipta Datta’s student, Soma Mitra-Behura.
The curtain raiser and attraction of the program was Smt. Sujata Mohapatra, daughter-in-law of Guruji, from Bhubaneshwar, with an excellent execution of Durga, Kede Chhanda (an oriya abhinaya) and Ramayana. Her well-maintained figure, stage presence, expertise, finesse and incredible grace were incomparable and stood as ideal for all artists of the day. This was followed by a production of Chatterjee’s dance company girls- ‘Vande mataram’, a choreography by Guruji, trained by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, rendered with beauty and patriotic love for mother India by the talented young and upcoming Odissi dancers, trained for a long time. ‘Ardhanariswara’, ‘Jaya mahesha’, ‘Aravi pallavi’ and ‘Patdeep pallavi’ were also executed her students of Houston, Austin, Dallas and College Station.
Senior featured and sponsored Bharatnatyam artist, Dr. Janaki Rangarajan from Virginia performed an Alaripu, Thillana in Raag Purvi, and Abhinaya ‘Yahi madhava yahi keshava’, which were touching, rhythmic and convincing. Senior featured and sponsored Kathak artist from Montreal, Canada, Smt. Sudeshna Maulik, disciple of Smt. Kumudini Lakhia, Pandit Birju Maharaj and Pandit Chitresh Das, performed Kathak. Her brilliant control on rhythm, broad stance and amplitude in movements, technique, though less effusive jumps were noteworthy.
Lisa Santhanam and Nazanin Baygani, current Odissi artists, having performed internationally in acclaimed festivals acquitted themselves creditably through ‘Hamsadhwani pallavi’ and ‘Mahli mala’, respectively.
Other beautiful dances in Odissi style by upcoming and young talents were ‘Kalyan pallavi’, performed by Prianka Ghoshal from Austin (student of Supradipta Datta), ‘Navadurga’, performed by Nivedina Sharma from Dallas (student of Aparajita Misra), ‘Ahe neela shaila’ performed by Divya Saha from California (student of Niharika Mohanty), ‘Chandana charchita’ performed by Shipra Meherotra’s Avantika Dance company students from Houston and ‘Nachonti ronge’ performed by Supradipta Datta’s Kalaangan students.
Noteworthy to mention- sponsoring team led by OCC, Sitaram foundation, SKAI, PTPI; organizing and public relations team led by Smt. Gouri Achari; managing/ travel expenses for artists team led by Smt. Madhumita Sengupta; venue team led by Smt. Mila Sengupta; announcement team of Sanchali Basu, Swati Chakroborty, Sruti Nuthalapati and Anusha Sengupta and decoration team led by Smt. Mridula Karna.